Exams are officially over! Hope it went well for everybody 🙂 University is quite scary and can sometimes get a bit hectic, especially for international students. Here are a few things that you could do to prepare for university. These apply to other universities as well but it is tailored towards the University of Surrey.
Get to know Guildford
I am sure you have done a detailed research on various universities and the degrees they offer (and if you have made University of Surrey your first choice, smart choice 😉 ) but do you know anything about the area? While the university itself obviously takes priority, it is also important to make sure you like the area because it is where you will for the next three years or possibly longer. Guildford offers quite a good range of entertainment, the GLive, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, the Guildford castle and the Guildford Spectrum…etc, the list is endless, we will leave the Guildford attractions for another time. One thing that seems to stand out, at least from what I have heard is that Guildford is very close to London and who doesn’t love London? It would take less than an hour to get to London by train and it might take even less if you know how to drive, although I have not heard the best things about the traffic.
Here is some useful information:
London Road, Guildford. GU1 2AA
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre:
Millbrook, Guildford, Surrey GU1 3UX
Parkway, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 1UP
Coming from Hong Kong, we spend most of our lives being shocked by the ever-skyrocketing property prices so I am sure none of you will be surprised by the prices in Guildford. However, it is not the easiest thing to find accommodation in Guildford. I was in a bit of a tricky situation last year when I was not offered an accommodation, I lived in the hotel for about a week. Thankfully, I was soon offered an accommodation on campus. So, it would definitely be a good idea to think about where you want to live and how to get to the university from there. Also, make sure you look up information about setting up a board band if you decided to live off campus because it could take a while and life without wifi is just too painful.
Unless you live on campus or in Manor Park, I would advise you to get a bus pass because it would make things much easier. For me, it takes about 40 minutes to walk to the university which is not a big problem but when it rains or is freezing cold, the bus will be your best friend.
3. Packing List
Unlike Hong Kong where the weather is pretty consistent regardless of your location, the weather in the UK could differ drastically depending on where you are. So make sure you check the weather and bring the appropriate clothing and essentials. I would say layering is quite important because it gets really hot when there’s a radiator (which most indoor places do) while it is freezing cold outside. Also, check what is provided and what isn’t. For example, pans and pots are usually not provided and kettles are not allowed in dorm rooms. These are things that you want to make a note of so you do not end up with ten suitcases. 😛
4. Maintain a ‘healthy’ bank account
Setting up a bank account is not the most exciting thing to do, especially in the summer. However, it would be wise to sort out your finances before freshers’ week. Many banks offer different types of student accounts with different benefits, look for the one that is best for you. Also, draw up a budget and a plan for how much you would roughly spend each week or month. This is very useful to keep track of your money, you will be surprised at how much you will spend on food.
This one is not exactly something you could do before you arrive but it is one of the most important things to do. Signing up with the on-campus NHS GP means you can see a doctor when you are sick, you will have to fill out a form, including details about your health and hand it into the NHS on campus. Better safe than sorry, you never know what’s going to happen and it is nice to know where to go when you are feeling a bit under the weather. You could also ask the doctor for confirmation that you were sick to apply for a later deadline or if you cannot attend the exam.
6. Be a tourist
Explore Hong Kong before you leave, we all know it pretty well but trust me, you want to go around and see things before you come to the UK. Go to your favourite restaurant, shop in your favourite store, hang out with your friends and spend time with your family. There are certain little things you will miss and there are things you will come to love, so bring your friends and family and explore your hometown! Oh and one more thing, do leave some space in your suitcase for some of your favourite snacks, you will thank me later.
Hope these gave you some idea of the things you should do before leaving for university, there are obvious things that I did not include like Visa but I am sure most would know that. There are oriental foods around Guildford and many attractions so you will settle in no time! For those who are already studying in Surrey, wishing you the best start for the second semester!